On Wednesday, March 10, 2004 we reported...

An exercise class is getting kids off the couch and into their tracksuits.

The Miss-fits classes at Dumbarton’s Meadow Centre gives girls the chance to dance to the latest boy bands, make friends and play games.

The twice weekly session, which started in the Easter holidays last year, is packed with eight to 12-year-olds.

Teacher Julie Smith, 28, said: “The classes are absolutely mobbed. It encourages the children to be active. It’s completely different to PE at school.

"We have got the latest chart music and the girls make up their own dance routines.”

It’s clear from their grinning red faces as they prepare for their performance of hip moves to a song by urban group Blazin’ Squad that the girls have had a whale of a time.

“Screams of ‘me, me, me!” erupt when Julie gets footballs out for a game of ball-tag, and the girls start singing along to the Sugababes.

Julie, a full time aerobics instructor said: “It’s a fun thing. I try to put them into teams to do their dance routines and they make pals with the others.

"Some of them have got different dance moves to show each other. It gives them a team spirit and helps their social skills.

"It’s not as much pressure as going to a dance class though.”

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To encourage the girls to keep up with the classes Julie gives them a loyalty card which they get stamped every week.

When they reach a certain number of stamps they get a small prize, from a hair bobble to a T-shirt.

The girls’ favourite part of the lesson is the ‘dare’ box, when they play pass the parcel and have to do a dare when the music stops, such as five star jumps or a dance in the middle of the circle.

The members of the class are all glowing with praise for their hobby.

Gillian White, nine, said she goes because, “we do a lot of exercising and we play dares and games.”

Rachel Henderson, nine, enjoys her time at the centre: “It gets us out of the house and we make more friends.”

Charlene Kemp, 10, said: “It’s fun,” and Tyler McKay, 10, said it gives her something to do while her mum is at work.

All the girls agree that Julie, with her funky red hair is cool too.